Improving passenger experience is a top priority for airlines and airport operators. But this is complicated by staff shortages and changing demand.
Technology can play a crucial role in helping staff help passengers. Smart devices in particular can help airport employees to provide more services.
Here we will define the concept of mobility for airport staff and what it means for operational efficiency. Areas we will look at include:
- One device, many tools – a smart device should be able to handle multiple tasks, from checking in passengers to searching for and locating luggage.
- Assistance – airport staff must be able to aid passengers anywhere in the airport, without exception.
- Implementation – the technology should be simple to implement and intuitive for staff.
Our seven-point manifesto will set out the key features that airport staff technology should include. So staff can be more efficient while delivering the very best passenger service.
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1. Boost passenger service by giving staff an all-in-one data capture device
Airport employees have demanding and fast-paced jobs that require them to move around the airport and perform a wide range of tasks throughout the day. They should be equipped with an all-in-one device that can handle all use cases.
For example, smartphones can:
- Scan ID documents such as passports or boarding passes at the gate
- Allow for an efficient boarding process and smoother baggage checks.
- Provide access to executive lounges or other exclusive airport areas, improving the experience for premium passengers.
Whether it’s scanning documents, accessing secure areas, or providing real-time updates to passengers, smart devices can help you get the job done faster and more efficiently.
How it can be done: This multi-functional capability is a game-changer for airport operations. By equipping your staff with smartphones that have the right software, you’ll be able to streamline workflows and improve the speed of operations.
2. Airport employees should be able to help passengers anywhere in the airport
An airport employee should be able to move around freely and perform tasks quickly and efficiently.
Airport staff should not need to be at a workstation to help a passenger. Whether that employee is a gate agent, baggage handler, or customer service representative, a smart device will provide everything at their fingertips to help customers.
They can help passengers by:
- Enabling a more personalized approach to airport operations
- Scanning boarding passes, luggage tags, and other important documents on the go
- Reducing delays and waiting time in line for travelers
- Enhance the overall passenger experience
How it can be done: Smartphones equipped with smart data capture technology can be a game-changer for airport operations. Smart devices are portable, cost-effective, and readily available, making them a convenient tool for all airline staff to carry around.
3. Provide staff with the ability to provide flight information with a simple scan
Traveling through an airport can be frustrating for passengers. So mitigating this experience is key. Airport employees should be able to provide information for every traveler.
With smart devices and advanced technologies such as augmented reality and multi-scanning with MatrixScan you can:
- Provide flight information by scanning a boarding pass and accessing real-time flight updates
- Locating luggage in situations like luggage transfer. Just scan the tags at once and the right suitcase is highlighted on-screen
How it can be done: Smart device cameras and touch screens can adapted to provide augmented reality and multi-scanning. Simple help like this can save time and minimize stress for the passenger.
A device should be able to scan with 100% accuracy
No one wants to keep a passenger waiting while the device struggles to scan an ID document or boarding pass. Accuracy is critical when it comes to scanning barcodes and other important documents.
The device should be able to handle:
- Wide angles – sometimes scanning has to be done in a difficult-to-access space such as in the luggage bay
- Long distances – there may be times when the barcode is far away. For example, when a passenger wants to keep their distance
- Harsh glare – reflective light can be a challenge for some scanning software, like when scanning another screen
There should be no delays or mistakes because of inaccurate scanning. With smart devices, each barcode is captured with precision and speed.
How this can be done: With Scandit Smart Data Capture, smart devices are capable of high performance scanning. This means fewer errors and a smoother, more efficient workflow for your team.
5. Technology should be simple to implement and easy to set up
Any scanning device or application should be deployable without a major upgrade on the backend or to fit in with static workstations.
A small development team should be able to implement an app with digital technologies like high-performance scanning and batch scanning. Smartphones are easy to set up and integrate with existing systems in a matter of days.
Here are some other key set-up benefits:
- Smartphones are also familiar to most people, which makes them user-friendly and easy to adapt to
- On-screen advice through augmented reality can help onboard and guide new staff
- Products like Scandit SparkScan mean the scanning application can be up and running with just a few lines of code
- …or use a ‘no code’ option like Scandit Express
How it can be done: A smart device application can be set up with just a few lines of code. SparkScan can be quickly added to an app with just a few lines of code – providing a pre-baked UI that is simple to use.
While Scandit Express – a turnkey scanning solution – can be added to the device’s keyboard. It allows it to scan directly into any input field from the keyboard. No need to change any software or do any coding.
6. A device should be able to last a full shift on one charge
Providing mobile technology to airport staff is pointless if the device’s battery runs out halfway through a shift. Long battery life and minimal charging time are key features.
These features reduce the need to charge the devices during work hours, ensuring that airport operations run smoothly and efficiently. With minimal downtime, staff can focus on delivering exceptional service to travelers making the boarding process faster and more convenient.
How this can be done: One commonly cited myth is that smartphone batteries cannot last a whole shift. But smartphone manufacturers understand the critical importance of battery power and performance, and continue to improve it with every new model. High-performance scanning software is also key to making this a success.
For example, a popular rugged Android smart device was recently shown to deliver 12,000 scans on a single charge, with a scan every 2 seconds when powered by Scandit’s Barcode Scanner SDK.
7. A device should have a simple and easy-to-use user interface
In the fast-paced environment of an airport, having a user-friendly interface on your smart devices is essential. That’s why smartphones with scanning capabilities are a game-changer.
With a simple and easy-to-understand user interface, smart devices make it easier for staff to navigate through the application and perform their tasks more effectively. This user-friendly interface can increase productivity and reduce errors, ensuring a more efficient and enjoyable airport experience for all.
The device user interface should be:
- Intuitive for employees – they should be able to scan from any angle or be able to trigger a scan without looking at the screen
- A personalized experience – team members should be able to tailor scan settings to suit their own preferences and needs
How this can be done: SparkScan turns smartphones into ergonomic barcode scanners for enterprise workflows with just a few lines of code. Its barcode scanner interface fits on top of any native mobile app, without requiring app redesign or customization. Runs on iOS and Android, including low-end models.
Summary - technology to match an exceptional passenger service
In conclusion, an airport’s success correlates with the efficiency and exceptional passenger service provided by its staff.
However, airlines are facing challenges such as staff shortages and increasing passenger expectations. Providing smart devices with technology like Scandit Smart Data Capture can help overcome these obstacles and make employees more mobile and efficient.
Features such as user-friendly interfaces, long battery life, and high-performance scanning capabilities can help airport staff deliver exceptional service to passengers.
Investing in technology for airport employees is not just about staying competitive; it’s about providing a better experience for everyone involved in air travel. Airports embracing digital transformation can create a more efficient workflow while delivering an outstanding passenger experience from check-in to boarding.